If you’ve read my novel Northern Survival and stumbled over the word autophagy linked with self-eating, you’re probably not alone. When I first heard it, I was the same way.
Looking up the definition on the Internet, autophagy sounds like a horrible thing.
autophagy: consumption of the body’s own tissue as a metabolic process occurring in starvation and certain diseases.
Who would subject themselves to that?
Looking further, this is what you’ll find on Internet health pages.
Autophagy is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells, according to Priya Khorana, PhD, in nutrition education from Columbia University.
“Auto” means self and “phagy” means eat. So the literal meaning of autophagy is “self-eating.”https://www.healthline.com/health/autophagy
Who wants to clean out damaged cells to regenerate new ones? I do. I think everyone does. But there’s a lot more to autophagy, and it’s all good.
Here’s the few paragraphs where Olive talks to John about autophagy. This was several days after the plane crash, and with the lack of food, both were fasting most days.
Olive secured the fishing line to the end of the four-foot stick she’d brought along and plopped the hook into the water near the boat. He caught her eye, and she smiled with an ease that relaxed his muscles.
“This is my favourite kind of fishing,” she said. “Trolling. We do this for hours on the ocean. Sit back and let the fish come to us.” She lay with her back against the bow facing him and holding tightly to the rod.
“Don’t catch too many,” he said. “I want those growth hormones to kick in.” He grinned. “Tell me more about fasting and this autophagy theory. I need to regrow a few brain cells, recycle the cell garbage. I might look ten years younger by the time this is over.”
Her laugh settled him further, and he listened contently while she explained the self-eating approach to a healthier, younger self. In truth, she could have talked about anything, and she’d have had his attention. Her easy-going nature was addictive and time passed without notice.
I stumbled onto vital information about fasting two years ago while researching the Keto diet. I had known about the practice, but I had never considered it seriously as a way to get healthier. Exploring fasting further, I came upon autophagy and it’s incredible benefits to the body.
In early 2019, over the course of four months, I slowly reduced the amount of food I consumed and reduced my three square meals a day to two. I had even eliminated snacks when I was more intent on seeing results.